Although Texas abortion clinics are not dropping the lawsuit, they now expect it will be dismissed in the coming weeks or months.
The Texas law bans abortion after roughly six weeks of pregnancy and makes no exceptions in cases of rape or incest. Abortions in Texas have plummeted by more than 50% since the law took effect.
It is likely to further embolden other Republican-controlled states that are now pressing forward with similar laws, including neighboring Oklahomawhere many Texas women have crossed state lines to get an abortion for the past six months.
The Republican-controlled Oklahoma Senate on Thursday approved a half-dozen anti-abortion measures, including a Texas-style ban.
The decision by the Texas Supreme Court turned on whether medical licensing officials had an enforcement role under the law known as Senate Bill 8, and therefore, could be sued by clinics that are reaching for any possible way to halt the restrictions.
But writing for the court, Justice Jeffrey Boyd said those state officials have no enforcement authority, “either directly or indirectly.”
Texas abortion providers did not immediately comment on the ruling but had already acknowledged they were running out of options and that the law would stay in place for the foreseeable future.
The US Supreme Court has reported in a separate case out of Mississippi that it would roll back abortion rights, and possibly overturn its landmark Roe v. Wade decision, in a ruling that is expected later this year.